Thurrock Council defend “tolerance policy” over unlawful traveller camps

Traveller Blackshots

THURROCK Council continues to work with unauthorised encampments to make sure they can be moved on across the borough, in a way which is compassionate, understanding and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Rob Gledhill, said: “During this time it is vital that we continue to manage unauthorised encampments using interim injunction procedures and make sure nobody is put at unnecessary risk, while considering any impacts on the local community.”

The borough has recently experienced several incursions and the council’s Environmental Enforcement Officers along with partners and lead agencies – Essex Police and the Essex Countywide Traveller Unit (ECTU) – continue to work together to manage encampments under guidance, ensuring they are moved on safely, while considering the impact on the community.

Cllr Gledhill adds: “While the lockdown is in place, we are following a model of good practice alongside Essex Police and the ECTU relating to unauthorised encampments.

“We monitor encampments from arrival to departure and discuss options, including the use of our Tolerance Policy, sited by the High Courts as an example of best practise for extenuating circumstances.

“The Tolerance Policy (otherwise known as ‘Negotiated Stopping’) has been approved by the Court of Appeal and is also encouraged by gypsy and traveller charities and support groups.

“This is a challenging time for all and policies and processes are being flexed to meet changing guidance. Timelines are also varied due to new ways of working and we are following injunction processes and procedures in our submissions to the High Court.”

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